Outstanding Landscapes Launched
Tourism businesses in the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in Suffolk and Essex celebrated the launch of the Outstanding Landscapes project on 2nd March 2015 amidst the splendour of the Constable paintings in the Wolsey Gallery at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich.
“The Mansion was ideal for the launch of our new landscape awareness project,” said Nigel Chapman, Chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Joint Advisory Committee. “It holds the largest collection of Constable’s paintings outside London, and of course, Constable lived and painted in the Stour Valley.”
One of Constable’s most famous paintings, the six-footer Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows 1831 is currently on show in the Gallery. Guests were also able to enjoy the newly restored The Mill Stream (1814-15) and hear the story of its restoration from conservator Ros Whitehouse – including the discovery of a kingfisher, hidden beneath centuries of grime.
Nigel continued - “We are highlighting the landscape features and local distinctiveness of the AONBs, and opening everyone’s eyes to what’s around them.
“By equipping tourism businesses with this online training,” added David Wood, Chairman of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB, “we are enabling them to be more informed – and to pass on their knowledge when building up relationships with visitors. The coast and countryside of both AONBs attracts people from all over the world. We are encouraging international visitors, as well as local people, to return, and discover new delights.”
Speakers at the launch included Simon Amstutz on the AONBs, and Philip Wise, Collections and Curatorial Manager for Colchester and Ipswich Museums, who gave an introduction to the Constables at Christchurch Mansion. He pointed out the Mansion’s latest acquisition, A Lime Kiln, which appropriately featured one of the Stour Valley’s well-known tourism businesses, Milsoms at Dedham.
Contributions came thick and fast from the audience during the presentation led by Cathy Smith, AONB Communications Officer, on What’s Special about the AONBs. These will be included in the Outstanding Landscapes Workshop and Tour in each AONB on 14th and 15th April.
The workshops (including lunch and training in the online package) are free but places are limited - to take part tourism businesses should email the AONBs or telephone 01394 384948.
Still time to contribute! The Outstanding Landscapes roadshow will be at the following events in March:
- 17th March Members’ event (Visit Essex) - Colchester United FC, Weston Homes Community Stadium
- 20th March (English Tourism Week) - Suffolk Unlocked (Visit Suffolk) - Trinity Park, Ipswich
- 24th March The Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation (DMO) conference - Snape Maltings
We'll also be giving a workshop at the Suffolk Coast Business Event (TSCBE) at Old Hall, Darsham, on 25th March.
This Outstanding Landscapes project has been made possible by European funding through the 2-Seas Interreg Cluster called Proximity. There are 11 partners in the cluster, including AONBs in Suffolk/Essex, Kent and Norfolk, as well as organisations from the Netherlands, France and Belgium.